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Stocks to Watch: Countrywide, Freddie Mac, Merck...


Wednesday's top stories and stocks with potential to move...


Stocks to watch for Wednesday November 21, 2007:

  • Border's Group (BGP) reported 3Q loss of $161 ml, or $2.74 a share, down further from a year ago when it reported a loss of $39.1 mln or 64 cents a share. Revenue rose to $813.6 million from $771 million a year earlier.
  • Countrywide Financial (CFC) says it thinks it can stay in business amid the recent credit crunch in the industry. A company statement said, "Countrywide Bank, the Company's primary operating entity, has sufficient liquidity available to meet its projected operating and growth needs and has accumulated significant contingent liquidity in response to evolving market conditions. Countrywide Home Loans is expected to service debt maturities beyond 2008 without additional debt issuance."
  • Exxon Mobil (XOM) has signed a deal allowing the company to explore for oil and natural gas in a deep-water area about 110 miles off the Libyan coast in the Mediterranean Sea, reports the Wall Street Journal. This marks the first of the company's dealings with Libya in which the two were the only entities involved in negotiations, without any auction process.
  • Foot Locker (FL) reported 3Q losses of $33 mln, or 22 cents a share, down from a profit of $65 mln, or 42 cents a share a year ago.
  • Freddie Mac (FRE), in case you missed it, posted a $2.03 bln loss for the 3Q and dealt a major blow to housing market hopefuls. The company said it was forced to sell mortgages to relieve some financial burden and is going to raise capital through sale of preferred stock next week. Yesterday, shares fell 29%, or $10.76 to $26.74 for the session.
  • Limited Brands (LTD) reported fiscal 2Q net income fell to $12.1 mln, or 3 cents a share, from $23.5 mln or 6 cents a share a year earlier. Revenue dropped to $1.92 billion from $2.12 billion a year ago.
  • Merck (MRK) has reportedly suspended Phase II clinical trials for its experimental leukemia drug due to an irregular heartbeat in one patient. Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX) is collaborating with MRK on the MK-0457 drug, and the companies said the trials will commence once a full analysis has been made.
  • Whole Foods (WFMI) reported fiscal 4Q profit fell to $33.9 mln or 24 cents a share, down from $39.8 mln or 28 cents a share a year ago. Revenue at the company rose to $1.74 billion from $1.29 billion.

Market Recap

  • Asian trading closed with the Hang Seng -4.15%, Nikkei -2.46%, Sensex -3.52%, Taiwan -2.27% and Shanghai -1.50%.
  • A quick check of Europe finds the CAC -1.79%, DAX -1.85%, FTSE -1.41%, ATX -2.19%, Swiss Mkt. -1.40% and Stockholm -1.43%.
  • Crude oil is trading lower -0.31 to 97.72 this morning while gold is higher +6.2 to 797.6 this morning.
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